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Huntingdon, Dec. 7, 1975.
My dearest Soul, I hope to Heaven Trim will be able to get this to you to-night!-Not I only, but my whole future life, shall thank you for the dear sheet of paper I have just received. Blessings, blessings -But I could write and exclaim, and offer up vows and prayers, till the happy hour arrives.
Yet, hear me, M. If I have thus far deserved your love, I will deserve it still. As a proof I have not hitherto prefled you for any thing conscience disapproves, you shall not do to-morrow what conscience disapproves. You shall not make me happy (oh, how supremely blest !) under the roof of your benefactor and my host. It were not honourable. Our love, the inexorable tyrant of our hearts, claims his facrifice; but does not bid us insult his Lordship’s walls with it. How civilly did he invite me to H. in October last, though an unknown recruiting officer! How politely himself first introduced me to himfelf! Often has the recollection made me
struggle with my passion. Still it shall restrain it on this side honour.
So far from triumphing or exulting, Heaven knows-if Lord S. indeed love you, if indeed it be aught beside the natural preference which age gives to youth-Heaven knows how much I pity him. Yet, as I have either said or written before, it is only the pity I should feel for a father whose affections were unfortunately and unnaturally fixed upon his own daughter.
Were I your seducer, M. and not your lover, I should not write thus-nor should I have talked or acted or written as I have. Tell it not in Gath, nor publish it in the streets of Alkalon, left the Philistines should be upon me. I should be drummed out of my regiment for a traitor to intrigue. And can you really imagine I think so meanly of your sex ! Surely you cannot imagine I think so meanly of you., Why, then, the conclufion of your last letter but one ? A word thereon.
Take men and women in the lump, the villany of those and the weakness of these I maintain it to be less wonderful that an hundred or so should fall in the world, than that even one fhould stand. Is it si range the serpent conquered Eve? The devil against a woman is fearful odds.
He has conquered men, womens' conquerors ; he has made even angels fall.
Oh, then, ye parents, be merciful in your wrath. Join not the base betrayers of your children-drive not your children to the bottom of the precipice, because the villains have driven them half way down, where (see, fee !) many have stopped themselves from falling further by catching hold of some ftraggling virtue or another which decks the steep-down rock. Oh, do not force their weak hands from their hold their last, last hold! The descent from crime to crime is natural, perpendicular, headlong enough, of itself-do not increase it. “Can women, then, no way but backward fall?"
Shall I ask your pardon for all this, M. ? No, there is no occasion, you say.
But to-morrow-for to-morrow led me out of my strait path, over this fearful precipice, where I, for my part, trembled every step I took, left I should topple down headlong. Glad am I to be once more on plain ground again with my M.!
To-morrow, about eleven, I'll be with you but, let me find you in your riding dress, and your mare ready. I have laid a plan, to which neither honour nor delicacy (and I always consult both before I propose any thing to you) can make the
least objection. This once, trůst to me-1'11 explain all to-morrow. Pray be ready, in your riding-dress! Need I add, in that you know I think becomes you most? No-Love would have whispered that.
Love shall be of our party-He shall not suffer the cold to approach you-he ihall spread his wings over your borom-he shall nestle in your dear arms he shall
When will to-morrow come? What torturing dreams must I not bear to-night!
I send you some lines which I picked up fomewhere I forget where. But I don't think them much amiss.
L E T T E R V.
To the Same.
Huntingdon, 8 Dec. 1775.
Then I release my dearest soul from her promise about to-day. If you do not see that all which he can claim by gratitude, I doubly claim by love; I have done, and will for ever have done. I would purchase my happiness at any price but at the expence of your's.
Look over my letters, think over my conduct, confult your own heart, and read these two long letters of your writing, which I return you. Then, tell me whether we love or not. And if we love (as witness both our hearts)-Mall gratitude, cold gratitude, bear away the heavenly prize that's only due to love like ours? Shall my right be acknowledged, and must he posless the casket? Shall I have your soul, and shall he have your hand, your eyes, your bosom, your lips, your
Gracious God of Love! I can neither write, nor think. Send one line, half a line, to
your own, own